The small space—not to mention the one-word listings of food items on the one-page menu—simply don't do justice to the bold flavors pouring out of Mancinni's Coal Oven Pizza.
Opening only last March in the spot at 438 Bloomfield Avenue once occupied by the bead shop known as Timeless Treasures, Mancinni's may at first seem like just another pizza joint in a town that already boasts pie powerhouses such as Ah' Pizz, where pizza is famously cooked at 1,000 degrees in a whopping 90 seconds.
But Mancinni's is different—and not just because it uses a coal oven to cook pizzas in three to five minutes. The atmosphere, with its paper napkins, wooden benches, and jam jar water glasses, is nothing to write home about. And with little more than half a dozen tables or so it's not always easy at first to find a place to sit.
But the food is spectacular.
First, of course, there are the 12″ or 16″ pizzas, priced from $9/$15 to $14/$20 depending on the toppings. You can choose from Classic, Puttanesca, Salami, Pancetta, Prosciutto, or Mushroom—or you can make your own. I made my own, deciding on sausage, and my friend ordered the Classic. The cheeses were creamy but not too messy. The crust was thin, crisp, and full of flavor. The sausage was spiced just right. No matter which pizza you pick, you couldn't possibly go wrong.
Although the pizzas were delectable, it was actually the other items on the menu that, for me, make this place stand out from the rest of the pack.
Like the pizzas, the salads, priced from $7.50 to $9, are named with a single word: Artichoke, Herb, Mixed, and Kale. But these salads are a far cry from a mix of greens splashed with balsamic dressing. Take the Herb, for example. This mess of arugula, parsley, mint, thyme, and oregano hides a treasure—a hardy and delicious round of bread filled with raisins alongside a mound of goat cheese. In short, the combination is incredible.
Also on the menu are three sandwiches including the Sopressata for $9 as well as three different sides. I tried the Garden Pickles—or a variety of pickled vegetables—for $5. The mixture, that included carrots, pickles, and cauliflower, was crunchy—and satisfying. Other sides include Tomato and Mushroom.
Besides the food, it's fun to watch the very friendly Australian-born chef/host Lizzy Singh-Brar juggle her duties. Not only does she take orders at the register—one of the fruit drinks is called Fizzy Lizzy—but she also brings food out to the tables and, basically, makes sure everything is running smoothly.
And, if you are undecided as to what to order, she'll help guide you to the perfect choice.
According to the menu, Mancinni's uses local seasonal products when possible. "We make most items in house. We offer gluten-free pizzas with all of the above toppings. Please feel free to bring a bottle of wine."
All in all, Mancinni's is simple and rustic—but scrumptious.
What you need to know:
Mancinni's Coal Oven Pizza
438 Bloomfield AvenueMontclair New Jersey, 07042
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Parking: If no street parking is available, there's a lot nearby on South Willow Street.